Bad Witch

Last updated

Bad Witch
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 22, 2018 (2018-06-22)
Genre Industrial rock
Length30:11
Label
Producer
Nine Inch Nails chronology
Add Violence
(2017)
Bad Witch
(2018)
Halo numbers chronology
Halo 31
(2017)
Halo 32
(2018)
Singles from Bad Witch
  1. "God Break Down the Door"
    Released: May 17, 2018

Bad Witch is the ninth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released on June 22, 2018, by The Null Corporation and Capitol Records. Bad Witch's announcement came simultaneously with that of the Cold and Black and Infinite North America 2018 Tour, for which Nine Inch Nails will be touring with The Jesus and Mary Chain. [1] [2]

Contents

The album incorporates jazz aspects, most notably with saxophone appearing alongside the more characteristic industrial rock sound of Nine Inch Nails' previous works. Influenced by and reminiscent of the album Blackstar (2016) by David Bowie, whom Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor had worked with in the past, Bad Witch is the band's shortest studio album at thirty minutes long. On May 17, 2018, the lead single "God Break Down the Door" was released for streaming, [3] and on June 22, 2018, Bad Witch released to generally favorable reviews.

Background

In 2016, Nine Inch Nails planned a trilogy of EPs, [4] starting with Not the Actual Events . The second EP, Add Violence , was released in 2017. Regarding the third entry in the trilogy and its delayed production, frontman Trent Reznor said:

Following a handful of concerts in support of Add Violence, Reznor was enthusiastic to begin work on the final part of the trilogy. [6] After experiencing creative difficulty in the studio, he and bandmate Atticus Ross decided to focus on doing something "exciting" and "risky", which included the incorporation of saxophone. [6] Those sessions led to Bad Witch, a studio album inspired in part by David Bowie. [6] [7]

While Bad Witch was originally set to be an EP, [8] it developed into a full-length album; [9] [10] [11] at 30 minutes in length, it is the band's shortest to date. Reznor initially saw the trio of planned EPs as one long album with three smaller components, [6] but, after seeing how EPs tend to be overlooked (especially on music streaming sites), Reznor decided to promote Bad Witch to a full album. [12] [13]

Composition

Musically, Bad Witch is a concise album that blends the industrial rock aggression [14] [15] of Nine Inch Nails with slower and more somber moments, most clearly seen in the two instrumental pieces. [16] Reznor employs a saxophone at multiple points on the album, [16] and he occasionally sings in a way dissimilar to his normal manner, [17] with some critics comparing the style to Bowie's. [7] The album's first two tracks, "Shit Mirror" and "Ahead of Ourselves", are its heaviest and most direct. [16] The third song, "Play the Goddamned Part", is the album's first instrumental. [14] It slowly builds tension, emphasizing saxophone [16] and experimental noises [7] while working toward the album's sole single, "God Break Down the Door". [18] [19] "I'm Not from This World" is another instrumental, predominantly ambient song, described as "droning" and "hypnotic". [20] The album's sixth and final track, "Over and Out", begins as a relatively upbeat, catchy electronic song but ends as a protracted wash of white noise that concludes Bad Witch. [20] [21]

Several critics have compared Bad Witch to Reznor and Ross' film scores. [7] [22] Others likened the album to Bowie's Blackstar (2016), [7] [21] [22] and some to Reznor's soundtrack for the 1996 video game Quake . [22]

Release

On June 22, 2018, the album was released to retailers worldwide. It entered on several international charts and at 12 on the Billboard 200. [23]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic 77/100 [24]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic [22]
The A.V. Club B- [25]
The Boston Globe Favorable [7]
The Independent [14]
NME [26]
Pitchfork 8.0/10 [27]
Q [15]
Slant Magazine [28]

Bad Witch received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 77, based on 23 reviews. [24] AllMusic's Neil Z. Yeung called the album "frustrating", but also "the most cohesive and enveloping experience of this period". [22] Terence Cawley of The Boston Globe gave Bad Witch a positive review, writing, "Reznor is still making records that crackle with restless energy. For an artist who once specialized in massive concept albums, the short-and-sweet approach of Bad Witch suits him well." [7] Writing for NME , Tom Connick gave the album a perfect score, calling it the band's best release in a decade. [26] The Independent 's Ilana Kaplan noted that despite being only thirty minutes long, the album was full of complexity and would probably be received as a sensory overload. [14] Writing for Q , George Garner considered the album an "excellent reprisal" of Nine Inch Nails' "industrial aggression", concluding that after thirty years, the band sounded reinvigorated. [15] Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic felt that Bad Witch does not reach the highs of 1992's Broken or 1994's The Downward Spiral , but it does not dishonor them either. [21] Drowned in Sound's Christian Cottingham was more mixed on the album, criticizing it for relying too much on previous Nine Inch Nails sounds and material. [29] Sam Sodomsky of Pitchfork wrote, "for the first time in a long time, Reznor sounds like he’s got his eye on the future." [27]

Track listing

All tracks written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

No.TitleLength
1."Shit Mirror"3:06
2."Ahead of Ourselves"3:30
3."Play the Goddamned Part" (instrumental)4:51
4."God Break Down the Door"4:14
5."I'm Not from This World" (instrumental)6:41
6."Over and Out"7:49
Total length:30:11

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Bad Witch. [30]

Nine Inch Nails

Additional personnel

Charts

Chart (2018)Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA) [31] 9
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) [32] 16
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) [33] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia) [34] 24
Canadian Albums (Billboard) [35] 15
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI) [36] 39
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts) [37] 43
French Albums (SNEP) [38] 37
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) [39] 28
Greek Albums (IFPI) [40] 68
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ) [41] 34
Irish Albums (IRMA) [42] 50
Italian Albums (FIMI) [43] 49
Japanese Albums (Oricon) [44] 43
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ) [45] 4
Portuguese Albums (AFP) [46] 18
Scottish Albums (OCC) [47] 6
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE) [48] 31
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) [49] 5
UK Albums (OCC) [50] 12
UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC) [51] 1
US Billboard 200 [23] 12
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard) [52] 2
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard) [53] 2

References

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  4. "Trent Reznor Announces Trilogy of Nine Inch Nails EPs". Rolling Stone . June 5, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
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